The Surrey Estate Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (SERRA) is concerned about idle youth in the area who have now allegedly formed a gang and are loitering on street corners.
This was raised when the association held a meeting on Saturday June 10 which was attended by about 30 residents.
They agreed that more was needed to keep youth active and away from negative influences.
The meeting was chaired by Manenberg Community Police Forum chairperson, Kader Jacobs.
Mr Jacobs said that SERRA had noticed an increase in the number of youth standing on corners throughout the day.
He said that while residents feel that getting the police involved is the solution, he believes that a softer approach can be taken so that the youth are not criminalised.
“We need to sit down with them and speak to their parents and get them more involved. We need to tackle them one by one and not only speak to a few of them,” he said.
When asked what SERRA has done to tackle the problem thus far, he said that they had only approached a few of the youth and that the association needed the help of residents to address them all.
President of the Muslim Judicial Council, Sheikh Irafaan Abrahams, agreed that involving the police in dealing with the youth was not a solution.
“We have the ability to tackle this ourselves. We just need to engage with the youth, but we need to solve the problem now and not later when the situation is out of control because it will get worse over the years,” he said.
Resident Anthea Paries said there needed to be more programmes hosted for the youth to keep them occupied.
She suggested SERRA approach other community organisations to get involved or sponsor the programmes. She also feels the area needs a facelift.
“There is nothing for the children to do not even a swimming pool or any activities. It still looks the same as it did 10 years ago,” she said.
Another resident, Yaseen Reagel, said sport is another possible solution to the problem as it would keep the youth busy.
He said that SERRA should approach other sport bodies to involve the youth in their clubs. “Instead of building a new hall to accommodate new programmes let’s work with what we have and explore the current organisations,” he said.
Ms Paries suggested that one of the programmes should be an awareness programme to educate youth about societal issues and how to handle them. “This will educate them and increase their knowledge,” she said.
Saadick Abrahams, one of the youth in the area, asked ward councillor Aslam Cassiem what procedures they would need to follow to use gym equipment on a vacant field in the area.
Mr Cassiem said that they are allowed to do that but it cannot be permanently installed.
Mr Abrahams also said that he and a group of boys would like to form a soccer club in the area and use a vacant field to practice and play on.
In response, Mr Cassiem said that he should send a proposal to the City of Cape Town.
Mr Jacobs added that in order to achieve an holistic solution, more residents need to attend meetings.
He urged the residents present to encourage their neighbours to attend future meetings.